A man wearing a red button down shirt presses an instrument to a man's back.

Many working undocumented immigrants won’t qualify for state health insurance even if they don’t earn a living wage. That leaves them with few viable options for coverage.

Lucia Marroquin knows what it’s like to wait out pain in hopes that it will go away on its own. She is suffering from kidney stones and may need surgery. But because she lacks health coverage, her first question when she falls ill is always, “How much will that cost me?”

So when California officials announced plans to extend Medi-Cal coverage to more undocumented adults, the Fresno County resident was hopeful that she would finally qualify for health insurance.

But her farmworker husband’s annual income of $35,000 puts the couple over the limit to qualify for Medi-Cal, which is reserved for residents with lower incomes. So even under Gov. Gavin Newsom’s planned expansion, she’ll likely be left with no health insurance.

Experts say allowing people to sign up for comprehensive Medi-Cal coverage regardless of their immigration status is the single biggest step California can take to insure as many people as possible in the current system. Newsom called his latest planned expansion “universal access to coverage.”

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